Why a Screencast Might be What Your Website Needs

Why a Screencast Might be What Your Website Needs
September 1, 2016 Madeleine Helme

One effective method of showing people how to use your software is to literally show them how to use it. Having a screencast on your website can be a really effective way of achieving this.

When you start using a new software or web-app, it can be a little overwhelming. You aren’t familiar with all of the features and functions of the software, so it all looks very confusing. This may even put you off downloading or investing in the software, because you are unsure whether or not you’ll be able to use it properly.

If you are a business offering this kind of web-app experience, you want to avoid this user anxiety at all costs. To do this, you need to provide solutions that will help settle any concerns people may have about using your software. You can do this in a number of ways including online chat, telephone support, and FAQs.

What is a screencast?

A screencast is a video recording of a person’s computer screen as they use and engage with it. This is generally accompanied with a voiceover narrative or subtitles to provide instructions, extra information, or to provide entertainment. Screencasts are commonly used as video tutorials, online training, and gaming demos or play-throughs.

Screencasts are a great way to guide users through how to use your app or software as they can see your computer screen as you show them exactly what to do and how to do it. Take them through all of your site features to showcase what your app has to offer and how it can benefit them. At the same time, you can talk them through what you are doing to aid their understanding of the process.

How to make a screencast

It’s easy to create a screencast if you have the right software, and there are plenty of options for you to use. Screenflow for Mac and ScreencastOMatic are both popular choices that you could use. Using Screencast software is generally simple to do, and Screencast-O-Matic even has its own screencast on its homepage to show you how it’s done!

Screencast software gives you easy to use controls to set up your video, allowing you to record either your screen, the images seen through your webcam, or both. Decide whether you want narration on or off and start recording. Do everything you want to do on your screen and click stop when you’re done. You can also pause at any point along the way, which can be used to make editing your video easier.

Most screencast software will also provide editing options for after you’ve recorded your video. If not, then tools like iMovie are good for this. Once it’s finished, you can save your screencast and export it to whatever platform you want to publish it on.

Tips for getting your message across

Plan it

It’s a good idea to write a script or create a plan for your screencast before you start. You could just improvise as you go along if you have an idea of what you want to do and say, but this could lead to more mistakes or awkward silences as you try to think of your next step. Complete at least one run through of your screencast so that you are fully prepared. The more prepared you are, the more natural your screencast will sound. Your preparations should also include getting any websites, images, or other resources ready on your screen so you can quickly navigate to what you need.

Narration

We’ve already mentioned the option to add audio narration over the top of your video, and we would definitely recommend it. This makes sure your video caters to a wider audience, because some people take in information better when they hear it, while others process information better when they see it.

Quality sound

The quality of your sound will make a big difference to the overall quality of your video. If your narration is difficult to hear, then you won’t be able to get your message across as effectively. You can just use the microphone built in to the device you’re using, but investing in a good quality microphone will really improve the end result. You should position the microphone about one foot away from your face for the best result. Placing it too close or too far away could compromise the sound quality.

Environment

Recording in large, empty rooms could also cause an echo in your sound, so aim for smaller rooms for sound recording. Make sure you eliminate any background noise as well, such as machines working in the background. Visual distractions such as flickering lights should also be eliminated.

Think about your audience

When it comes to the material you are showing on screen, think about how the audience will see it. Make sure everything is really clear for them to see. This could mean increasing font size so they can read text easily, or zooming in on important elements that they need to focus on, which can be done during the editing process. Also, remember not to display any private information about yourself that may be contained on your screen.

Eliminate distractions

You don’t want anything on your screen that could be distracting your audience from your message. For example, if you constantly go back and forth between browsers unnecessarily or wave your cursor around when you’re talking, you could distract your audience. Make sure all of your actions on the screen add to or complement what you are saying and doing. This goes for sound too; turn off all notifications before recording your screencast so that these sounds don’t distract your viewers.

Thumbnail

When you upload your screencast to the platform of your choosing, the thumbnail displayed before someone starts the video should tell them exactly what your screencast is about. Don’t use an obscure image that doesn’t explain anything, even if it is the first still of your video. Use a screenshot that gives them valuable information about the content of your screencast.

Screencasts, when done right, can convey a lot of useful information in quite a short period of time. This makes them a great resources for a variety of different websites. Take a look at the tools we have mentioned in this article to start planning how you can use screencasts for marketing your business.

After working in marketing for two years I decided to become a freelance writer. In my spare time I enjoy watching films and television and keeping fit through going to the gym and practising taekwondo.